Jul 27, 2011

Query-Cure Revision #1

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Dream Agent,

When six zombie infected are discovered in a remote Haitian village, Dr. Howard Nixon, a brilliant scientist and wealthy physician, commissions their transfer to his research facility believing that he can manipulate the pathogen into something that will cannibalize tumors in cancer patients, curing them. The problem is, he needs to temper the virus by way of human-zombie hybrid.

Nixon inseminates human females with the infected’s sperm, but the infants aren’t surviving. He needs a compatible mother to host the hybrid and enlists the help of an ex-Nixon Center physician to find Miranda Penton, the perfect candidate.

Miranda becomes Nixon’s next victim, but her stay is short-lived. Someone reverses the hospital’s lock-down releasing not just the human victims, but the infected on an unsuspecting population.

Miranda realizes she’s pregnant as the infection spreads. Nixon’s security is sent to eradicate the newly infected and a bounty is placed on Miranda’s head. Nixon’s people lose control of the spread and Miranda’s infant becomes the new target. A defected group of Nixon’s clinical staff believe that her baby holds the cure to the outbreak. How far will Miranda go and at what cost to the world to stop them?

Cure is a zombie horror novel complete at 65,000 words and has series potential.

My short stories have appeared in Shroud Magazine, Dabblestone, and on Tales of the Zombie War’s website. My short story, “The Look-alike” earned me honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest 76th Annual Writing Competition and I am the author of an independently published novel, Dead Spell. I would be happy to send you a partial or the full manuscript of Cure. Thank you for your consideration.

Belinda Frisch

I can't get italics to work in comments, but all longer works are italicized in the actual query. Thanks! 

NOTE: I placed some italics where I though the author intended them.  To add italics to a comment, you need to use the following HTML tags, with spaces removed: < i >  and <  /i >.  The text in between the tags will be italicized.  Example: < i > This would appear in italics. < / i >
- Rick


Anonymous Author said...

Of the four individual commenters on your last version, three took issue with the phrase "six zombie infected," sans noun. But it's still in your query.

So. Good luck with this.

Anonymous said...

yankinfrance here...

Well, this is slightly less confusing. But it reads even more like a synopsis -- the flat writing only heightens this.

Still, you're clearly not interested in listening to people's criticisms, so why bother posting this?

All of the basic problems of the original query remain: the focus on the wrong character, the endless backstory, the too-long word count, the insistence on re-inventing the word 'infected' (using pathogen helps, I suppose, but it's an expensive word here : if it's a virus, call it a virus).

You even continue to insist on mislabeling your self-published novel.

But I think the real problem is you're in a rush to bump out a query -- you're better off taking a week or so to think about it, work through different iterations, try a number of completely different ideas. Instead of slapping up a barely revised 'revision.'

I'm done with this one for now. Like Anon Author says: So. Good luck with it.

Kelsey (Dominique) Ridge said...

This is going to sound persnickety, but every time you said Nixon -- where I can only suppose you meant to refer to the Nixon administration -- I actually pictured Dick Nixon doing these things, including inseminating random women. That's probably an image you don't want the reader of your query having in his or her head.

I share the first commentor's concern over the use of 'infected' as a noun. It is an adjective, and I did stop wondering why it wasn't attached to something. You don't want your readers to stop.

gj said...

I'd just like to reiterate what others have said about not having any idea who the protagonist is, and that's a problem for a coherent query. It sounds like the doctor, initially, but then switches to the pregnant woman.

Pick one and tell his/her story. A query needs to convince its reader that there's an interesting character with an interesting problem, doing interesting things.

Despite the length of the query, we really don't know anything about either of the possible protagonists, as individuals, rather than as stand-ins for a plot element.

The doctor does something evil (unwilling human subjects) for a potentially good reason (curing cancer). Which could be interesting, if we knew that he, himself, felt conflicted about it. Or is he just the standard bwahaha-ing evil scientist? I can't tell.

And the pregnant woman could be interesting, but I can't tell, because all the query basically tells us is that she's a victim who gets away.

You need more character, less plot.